Getting Away From Fast Food

There’s a common misconception that fast food costs less than food prepared at home. That’s partly because of massive corporate marketing budgets and campaigns from food companies that influence our thinking. Actually, cooking food at home costs less per person than the typical $5.00–$7.00 fast-food “value” meal.

So Why Aren’t People Cooking More?
If healthy home-cooked food costs less than fast food, why isn’t everyone cooking at home? Here are some reasons:

We’re out of practice. One of the big reasons people think fast food is cheaper than slow food is that we’re not cooking as often.The path toward fresh, healthy food being affordable and easy for everyone is cooking. It’s getting in the kitchen if you’re able to.”

We fear it. Cooking is easier than most people think—especially inexperienced cooks. However, in our sedentary culture, we watch so many cooking shows that cooking may seem like something only expert chefs can handle. But cooking is something that’s really simple that people have been doing since the beginning of time and building into their lives. Part of it is just getting over that fear.

We overcommit and under plan. We’re all working more hours, and it’s tough to find the time to cook, it doesn’t take long. Fifteen minutes a day can get you healthy, affordable food. But it takes a little bit of planning—and that’s key. You have to think in terms of ‘Let me see if I can prepare a big pot of something on Sunday that I can eat throughout the week. What are the things I can freeze?’ All of that really helps.”

Educating Yourself
So, if you’d like to cook more frequently, try these ideas:

Get in the kitchen. You have to practice cooking to become proficient. If someone you know is a good home cook and understands how to create a healthy, simple meal, make a cooking date. Select the recipes, shop together, make the food together, then sit down together and eat what you’ve made.

Hire talent to help you. Hire a personal chef or a local culinary school to lead a cooking class for you and some friends. Make it a social event where you not only get to participate in the food preparation (for practice), but also eat the results. Ask the chef to keep things basic, healthy and inexpensive.

Learn to prep and plan meals for the week. Try cooking in bulk at home once per week (Sunday is usually a good choice) and freeze or refrigerate the food for quick reheating during the week. For example, roast a chicken and a large pan of root veggies, bake a handful of sweet potatoes, and make a large pot of chili or soup. Wash, chop and dry all of your produce for the week. With these tasks done, you can have dinner on the table in 15 minutes or less.

Learn basic knife skills and invest in at least one good knife. Nothing makes cooking more pleasurable (or miserable) than a good (or bad) knife. If you’ve never used a professional-grade knife, take a basic knife skills class or search YouTube for videos on the topic.

Every success story was accomplished by executing a thought out plan. Failing to prepare is preparing to Fail.

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Chocolate Protein Brownies

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Got the craving for something sweet? Something chocolate? After all your efforts of maintaining healthy nutritional habits, all of a sudden it hits you! The dreadful test of willpower to reject your Hershey bar another night and opt out for a protein shake, nut butters, and raw veggies that by now are tasting like mud and hay.

Well how about we try and use that protein powder and see how dynamic we can be with it. Lets crush the sweet crave and march forward with our head help up high and a smile on our face because you are about to make and taste some amazing chocolate protein brownies!

Lets get started!

Dry Ingredients:

  • 2 cups quick oats grounded
  • 2 scoops protein powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tbsp cocoa

    Wet ingredients:

  • 4 egg whites
  • 1/2 cup Splenda
  • 8 oz of berry purée
  • 4 oz of water or chocolate almond milk (increases carbs and calories)

    Directions:

    Pre heat oven to 350 degrees. Mix dry ingredients. Different types of protein powders can change the taste, and nutrient profile. I suggest to use a protein powder that is low calorie, low fat, low sodium, in either vanilla or chocolate. You already been experimenting baking or cooking with protein powder you will find that vanilla is more dynamic. For this recipe I used my usual chocolate protein because its the best tasting, and one of the cleanest protein powders i can find, and I was satisfied with the outcome. Heres a picture of the protein I use.

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    After mixing dry ingredients, proceed to mix wet ingredients to a frothy consistency. The berry purée replaces our normal butter and oil and will enhance the chocolate flavor. You can experiment with different types of berry or fruit purée from apple sauces to even baby food. Depending on how moist you like your brownies the additional 4 oz of fluid will moisten the texture. Today I used water because there’s no calories, but you can also use almond milk.

    Mix dry and wet ingredients and prep your 8×8 glass Pyrex dish with non fat cooking spray. Pour in the magic chocolate concoction and pop in the oven for 25-30 min. When done set aside for 5-10 min to cool and cut into 16 squares. Serve and enjoy the magic!

    Nutrient profile:
    Serving 2 bars
    96 calories
    1.4 grams fat
    12 grams carbs
    10 grams protein

  • Don’t forget to lift heavy things!

    We all know the poor measure a scale is for tracking our fitness. We know a scale measures everything: bones, fat, muscle, skin, organs, etc… We know muscle is much more dense than fat and we know quick weight loss is mostly lost muscle and water, leaving more fat on the body.

    We also know that our metabolism is guided by the amount of lean muscle tissue on our body. What we NEED to know is lean muscle can be lost in a variety of ways, but can only be added by resistance exercise. If we aren’t exercising, we aren’t adding any lean muscle tissue, meaning we’re getting fatter…even when we’re losing weight!

    The general assumption for people who don’t exercise is that they are 50% fatter than the scale implies. So, if you were 160 pounds in college and you’re now 180 pounds, you’re not just 20 pounds overweight. The truth is you’re fatter than that. You’re not weighing more muscle, but more fat.

    This is also why dieting, alone, doesn’t work. Losing weight without resistance exercise always results in losing muscle, muscle that will no longer be present to burn fat. Ever notice how people who lose a lot of weight at once through strict diets don’t really look fitter, but look “small fat”?

    If you’ve taken this route, you’re not alone. Gimmicks have us believing we can take a pill or eliminate a food group and achieve perfect health. Don’t continue to fall for the easy way out. It will not bring you the results you want.

    Instead, begin eating moderately. Apply the essential components to fitness: good nutritional habits, hydration, vitamins and minerals, cardiovascular training, and lift heavy things! in other words resistence training.

    Synergistically apply these components to build lean muscle tissue and let it help you burn fat like crazy!

    As always, don’t use the scale…to make you feel better!

    Friends’ Impact On Weight Loss

    Friends may have our backs, but their health and fitness habits can literally shape our backsides. How do friends help—or hurt—your healthy habits? Learn more from Martina M. Cartwright, PhD, RD, adjunct faculty member at the University of Arizona, independent biomedical consultant, author and nutrition counselor in Scottsdale, Arizona.

    When Dietary Awareness Is Out to Lunch

    The desire to copy people close to us is thought to enhance bonding and act as a social superglue (Lakin 2003). When we mimic each other’s eating behaviors, we form positive, subconscious bonds with our dining companions. What people do, rather than what they think, may be why obesity flourishes among friends.

    The average person makes over 200 food decisions every day (Wansink 2006). Deciding what and where to eat are just two pieces of the dining puzzle—the other is with whom. Commiserating with pals or engaging in animated conversation over a tasty meal is often good therapy, but it can lead to distracted dining. Focusing on the conversation rather than the food often results in overeating (Hetherington 2006; Wansink 2006). Also, those who eat together subconsciously model each other’s eating styles. Normally light eaters consume more when munching with a group, while heavier eaters eat less when dining with companions (Bell & Pliner 2003). If you want to lose weight, you may find it easier if you hang out with friends who eat healthfully and exercise.

    Hitting the Gym With a Friend

    Motivating yourself to exercise can be challenging. Did you know that nonexercisers are more likely to get moving and stick with activity programs if supportive friends are involved? As a whole, social influence is positively associated with exercise behaviors, intentions and attitudes. Gabriele et al. (2005) explored social encouragement, which focused on positive reinforcement and statements such as “people important to me encourage me to exercise.” Positive social encouragement like this improved exercise motivation, but social constraint or negative reinforcement reflected in statements like “people will be disappointed in me if I quit exercising” were not helpful. Surrounding yourself with positive pals may keep you moving in the right direction.

    SIDEBAR: Workplace Weight Gain

    The workplace can be a minefield for people trying to shed pounds. Desktop candy jars and office celebrations provide a steady stream of sugary indulgence that can sabotage the most strident dieter’s efforts.

    While coffee breaks and corporate parties can foster camaraderie, they entice mindless eating. Here are a few tips for taming workplace temptation:

    Put a lid on goodies. Covering them with foil or a lid will curb mindless munching (Wansink 2006).

    View the veggies: Leave these uncovered to promote healthier grazing.

    When dining with a co-worker, split large portions.

    Socialize and celebrate without food.

    Limit happy-hour drinks/alcohol.

    Avoid desktop dining.

    Limit the “office feeder” influence.

    Set an example: Bring in healthier snacks like fresh fruit, and replace the candy with dried fruit or nuts.

    Support co-workers who are trying to lose weight.

    References
    Bell, R., & Pliner, P.L. 2003. Time to eat: The relationship between the number of people eating and meal duration in three lunch settings. Appetite, 41 (2), 215–18.

    Gabriele, J.M., et al. 2005. Differentiated roles of social encouragement and social constraint on physical activity behavior. Annals of Behavioral Medicine, 29 (3), 210–15.

    Hetherington, M.M., et al. 2006. Situational effects on meal intake: A comparison of eating alone and eating with others. Physiology & Behavior, 88 (4-5), 498–505.

    Lakin, J.L., et al. 2003. The chameleon effect as social glue: Evidence for the evolutionary significance of nonconscious mimicry. Journal of Nonverbal Behavior, 27 (3), 145–62.

    Wansink, B. 2006. Mindless Eating: Why We Eat More Than We Think. New York: Bantam.

    Choosing Shoes

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    Want to enjoy a lifetime of exercise? Make sure you wear the shoes that best suit your feet. Shoes are made for all types of feet and actions, and knowing your foot type can aid you in selecting shoes that will help prevent injury.

    Determining Your Foot Type
    the right type of shoe for you depends on two things: your foot type (size of your arches) and what your foot does when it touches the ground. I recommend the “wet test” to find your foot type. Walk across a flat surface with wet feet so you can see your footprint and see the kind of arches you have.

    Normal arch. If you see about half of your arch on the paper, you have a normal (medium) arch. You are considered a normal pronator. (When you run or walk, you land on the outside edge of your foot and roll inward. This entirely normal inward rolling is called pronation.) Normal pronation absorbs shock and optimally distributes the forces of impact when the arch collapses inward.

    Low arch. If you see almost your entire footprint, you have a flat foot (low arch), which means you’re probably an overpronator. That is, a microsecond after footstrike, your arch collapses inward too much, resulting in excessive foot motion. This means the foot and ankle have problems stabilizing the body, and shock isn’t absorbed as efficiently.

    High arch. If you see just your heel, the ball of your foot and a thin line on the outside of your foot, you have a high arch. This means you’re likely an underpronator (also called a supinator), which can result in too much shock traveling up your legs, since your arch doesn’t collapse enough to absorb it. Forces of impact are concentrated on a smaller area of the foot (the outside part) and are not distributed as efficiently.

    Buying Shoes
    When trying on shoes, mention which type of foot you have. A knowledgeable salesperson should be able to help you find shoes suited to your type.

    Walking shoes are stiffer; running shoes are more flexible, with extra cushioning to handle greater impact. If you do both activities, get a pair for each one. For other fitness activities cross-trainers are fine. If you play a specific sport basketball, football, track, tennis, etc. make sure you buy a shoe that is specific to your sport. Including an insole that favors your foot type is also recommended.

    When testing shoes, wear workout socks and get fitted in the evening, when your feet are largest. There should be half an inch between the longest toe and the toe box. Look for stores that allow you to return the shoes within a certain time period if they aren’t working for you.

    Barefoot “shoes” have gotten a lot of press. These “slip-ons” are not exactly shoes, nor are they socks; in some cases they are more like thick rubber foot gloves. Their purpose is to mimic barefoot movement while avoiding some of the risks (e.g., sharp objects, extreme heat).

    Are they for you? To explore this subject, work with a running expert or certified personal trainer who specializes in running. Other body parts impact the feet, and it is important to understand how the whole body impacts your running biomechanics.

    Now time to get suited and booted!

    Awww Thanks! Grrrrrr :(

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    In the process of moving back home to Houston, Tx. For the next couple of weeks I will be completing the end of my personal training with my clients. As you all may already know, I am governing my diet like a nazi in hopes to learn and prepare myself to step on stage and compete by the end of the year. One of my favorite clients walks in today with this gift……fresh homemade double chocolate chip cookies…….fresh out the oven! AHHHHHH! I didn’t want to be an ungrateful prick, plus who in the world turns down homemade double chocolate chips cookies? I must approach this wisely and conquer this mountain of chocolate 1-2 cookies at a time, would be the perfect pre and post workout snack! Needless to say I couldn’t resist and ate 3 of them on the spot….Ffffffaaaa##! Extra mile of cardio for me today.